Kansas City man charged with promotion of obscenity, exploitation of minor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City man faces up to 58 years in prison after his arrest last week on multiple charges of promoting obscenity and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Anthony Snyder

Kansas City (Mo.) Police arrested Anthony Snyder, 30, at his home on Tuesday, June 9, stemming from a recent investigation of a male suspected of supplying pornographic material to children in the area. The Platte County Prosecutor’s Office has charged him with seven counts of promoting obscenity and one count each of sexual exploitation of a minor and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.

Snyder remains in custody at the Platte County Detention Center on a $200,000 cash-only bond and is due back in court on June 23.

The charges stem from interactions Snyder had with seven boys between the ages of 12 and 15, according to court documents. Snyder allegedly provided iPhones, iPads or laptop computers to the victims in an effort to help them to view pornography. He also “jailbroke” certain devices, using outside software to bypass restrictions and install applications and make modifications not approved by the manufacturer.

“This case is another reminder for parents to be vigilant about how their children access the internet, especially as they become teenagers,” Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said. “Police learned about this case from the boys’ parents. It is vitally important that parents supervise and regularly review their children’s access to cell phones, computers and tablet devices.”

Late last month, the Park Hill School District issued an alert about the behavior after Snyder allegedly approached a student at Prairie Point Elementary School. The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph also issued an alert regarding Snyder, a long-time parishioner at St. Therese Catholic Church in Parkville.

Snyder was a volunteer in the youth ministry from 2006-2008, but the church did not believe he has been involved since that time, according to a press release. Records show he completed the diocesan-mandated training for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse in 2006.

Immediately upon learning of the allegations against Snyder, a pastor at the local church contacted the diocese’s independent ombudsmen contacted the police and called the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline.

“He is not, and I am told, never been a paid employee of the church,” Zahnd said. “While we allege Mr. Snyder met at least two of his victims at the church, we also allege he met youth at other locations not connected to the church.

“The Catholic Church has been completely cooperative with the investigation of Mr. Snyder.”

Snyder also allegedly met victims at a local gymnasium and through his affiliation as a coach with a youth flag football team, possibly affiliated with the YMCA program and that practiced at Congress Middle School — a building in the Park Hill District.

According to court documents, Snyder encouraged the boys to message him when they were about to view pornography and said he would pay them every time they viewed images or videos. Zahnd said Snyder offered the boys more money if they viewed hardcore or gay pornography.

Prosecutors also allege that Snyder put some of the boys in touch with girls via social media who would solicit nude photographs of the boys’ genitals. One of the girls’ accounts was then traced to an IP address assigned to Snyder’s residence, even though the girl was purported to be from Texas.

The images in the girls profile were found to be of a known worker in the pornography industry. Kansas City police met with the boys in early May after parents reported the suspicious activity. The alerts to the public came shortly after but before Snyder’s eventual arrest last week.

“This was good parenting,” Zahnd said. “The parents here were alert to things that made them suspicious and ultimately led them to reporting it to police. This is why I encourage parents to monitor their children’s internet devices and help them when they see things that don’t seem right.”

Parents reporting the suspicious behavior were worried that Snyder might have the capability to view or record the boys while they were accessing the pornographic material. According to court documents, he would message the victims and ask them to move or tilt the device for “a better signal.”

Snyder admitted to providing several of the victims with “jailbroken” phones but denied having the capability to view the victims through the device or any involvement with child pornography. He explained it was intriguing to know secrets about the victims, according to court documents.

Anyone who suspects their children may have had a suspicious interaction with Snyder are asked to talk with their children and call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS. Zahnd said the investigation is still considered active and new charges could be filed if the evidence supports such new charges.